Information for parents about the Language Class
What is the Language Class?
The Language Class is a class for children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) previously known as SLI (Specific Language Impairment). There is a maximum of 7 children in the class, with a full time teacher and input from a HSE Speech and Language Therapist (SLT). There is also input from a NEPS (National Educational Psychologist Service) Psychologist where available.
What Happens in a Language Class?
The children follow the mainstream curriculum of their equivalent class as appropriate. The pupils in the SSLD Class are exposed to a limited amount of spoken, conversational based Irish. The 7 children in the Language Class are part of the school and can be integrated for some subjects eg PE, drama etc. They are involved in school activities along with the other pupils of the school eg school tours, Christmas plays etc. All school policies regarding healthy eating, uniforms, attendance, behaviour etc. apply in the Language Class also. Each child is assigned to a specific class of their level, and teacher for integration for the year. The Speech & Language Therapist works closely with the teacher to provide therapy that can be integrated into the child’s school day. The teacher can modify his/her teaching to suit each child’s unique speech, language and learning needs.
What is Developmental Language Disorder?
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) describes ‘children likely to have language problems enduring into middle childhood and beyond, with a significant impact on everyday social interactions or educational progress’ (Bishop et al., 2016b). The language disorder is not associated with a known differentiating condition e.g. Autism, Down Syndrome, Hearing Impairment or Intellectual Disability. Up to recent times SLI (Specific Language Impairment) or SSLD (Specific Speech and Language Disorder) were the terms used. The new name, Developmental Language Disorder DLD, is now being used in Ireland and worldwide since May 2017.
What do we know about DLD?
- It is very common, more common than Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder (Bishop, 2010).
- It may be life-long for many individuals with effects on their academic, social and emotional development.
- Children with DLD can have co-occurring challenges with motor, sensory and cognitive skills.
More information about DLD can be found in IASLT’s Position Paper and Guidance Document called ‘Supporting Children with Developmental Language Disorder in Ireland’ which is available at Y:\DLD Developmental Language Disorder\DLD Position Paper FINAL 23MAY2017.pdf
Eligibility Criteria for enrolment in a Language Class
The Department of Education & Skills (DES) has established the criteria for enrolment eligibility for Language Classes. They are as follows:
- Assessment by a psychologist on a standardised test of intelligence which places nonverbal ability within the average range or above (ie Performance IQ of 90 or more).
- Assessment on a standardised test of language which places performance on one or more of the main areas of language at 2 standard deviations or more below the mean.
- The child’s difficulties are not attributed to hearing impairment.
- Emotional or behavioural disorders or a physical disability are not considered to be primary causes. (See DES Circulars 02/05 (Special Education Section DES, 2005) and 0038/07 (DES, 2007a) for details at education.gov.ie
Is a Language Class suitable for my child?
Not all children with a clinical diagnosis of DLD will meet the Department of Education and Skill’s eligibility criteria for an SSLD Class placement. Not all children with a clinical diagnosis of DLD will require placement in a SSLD class. Other models of educational and SLT provision may be more appropriate. It is recommended that you discuss this with your child’s Speech & Language Therapist.
What is the Application Process?
The first step is to contact Scoil Ghobnatan for an application form. To do this, phone the school on 022-22192 and request an application form and information pack for the Language Class. It is important that you specify the Language Class, otherwise you may be sent a general school enrolment form. You should keep this until you have all the reports that are required (see below). The application form and reports need to be submitted to the school on or before the closing date for applications. The closing date for applications this year is Wednesday the 21st of February 2018.
These reports required are:
- Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) Report, which includes results of standardised assessment/s of speech and language as required by the Department of Education & Skills.
- Psychological Assessment Report, which clearly identifies performance/non-verbal IQ as required by the Department of Educational & Skills.
- Completed school or preschool reports (blank report forms enclosed)
- 2 completed Social, Emotional and Behavioural Rating Forms (blank forms enclosed) one of these is to be completed by the child’s school or preschool, and one is to be completed jointly by the parent and the speech & language therapist your child attends.
- 2 completed Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. One to be completed by the parent, one by the child’s teacher.
Your child’s Speech & Language Therapist will provide you with the SLT report and will assist you in getting the other reports and rating forms completed. You should discuss this with the therapist once you receive the application form. We enclose the template for the SLT report which you should give to your SLT.
The reports are to be brought to the school along with the completed application form on or before the 21st February 2018.
This will allow your application to be checked when you bring it to the school, in case anything has been omitted in error. This can be brought to your attention immediately and hopefully rectified by the closing date. If calling to the school poses any difficulties for you, please contact the Principal and alternative arrangements will be made.
A group called the Advisory Admissions Board meets to discuss all referrals and advise the Board of Management of Scoil Ghobnatan as to the children who should be offered the available places in the Language Class.
The Advisory Admissions Board comprises of:
- Principal &/or Deputy Principal of Scoil Ghobnatan.
- Language Class teacher.
- HSE Speech & Language Therapist for the Language Class.
- Speech & Language Therapy Manager, HSE.
- E.P.S. Educational Psychologist.
A preliminary meeting of the Advisory Admissions Board is held usually in February, to screen the applications that have been received and identify applications that are eligible/ineligible. Ineligible applicants will be notified following this meeting. The Admissions meeting is held usually in March. This is chaired by the Principal of Scoil Ghobnatan.
At this meeting, the Advisory Admissions Board reviews and discusses the eligible applications received.
- In the event that there are more eligible applicants than available places, the Advisory Admissions Board prioritises the eligible applicants. To do this, the Board uses a prioritisation rating scale which takes into account factors such as the severity of the speech and/or language disorder and the number of areas affected, the impact of the disorder on the child’s social and emotional well-being and the child’s age. The board will refer to the School/Preschool reports and the Social, Emotional & Behavioural checklists, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires to inform this process.
- Based on the outcome of the above, a recommendation for the allocation of the available places is made to the school’s Board of Management.
Following the Admissions Meeting and Board of Management approval, the parents of successful applicants are notified by the school Principal with an offer of a Language Class placement for their child for the following September. Eligible candidates who cannot be offered a place are notified of this.
Children who are offered and accept places in the Language Class will be invited to attend an open morning in the class with their parents. They will meet the teacher and therapist and have the opportunity to explore the classroom and surrounding area. This is usually in June.
How long does a child spend in a Language Class?
Children may spend one, or a maximum of two years in the class (See DES Circular 0038/2007). During the school year each child’s progress is reviewed and decisions are made by the Advisory Discharge Committee attached to the school as to whether a child should be discharged from the class or should be offered a further year in the class.
What happens when a child leaves the Language Class?
Most children go to their local primary school. Speech & Language Therapy may continue in the local HSE Speech & Language Therapy Clinic if deemed necessary.
Transport for pupils attending Language Classes may be provided through the Dept of Education Transport Section. Applications for transport to and from the class are submitted by the school in March. Bus Eireann implements the decisions of the Dept of Education at local level. Dept of Education approved escorts accompany children travelling to and from the class on this transport.
If you require any further information or have any queries please contact:
Mr Michael Walsh, Mary O’Brien,
Principal, Language Class Teacher,
Scoil Ghobnatan, Scoil Ghobnatan,
Phone 022/22192 Phone 022/22192